Arsenal have secured the signing of Stephan Lichtsteiner on a free transfer in the ongoing window. It was a shrewd piece of business by the Gunners, who will be looking for redemption next term.
Arsenal barely managed to clinch a sixth-place finish last season but with a new manager at the helm, the future does look bright for them. Former PSG boss Unai Emery has been appointed as the new manager, and the deal for Lichtsteiner marks the club’s first transfer activity under the Spaniard.
Lichtsteiner was great at Juventus, but at 34 years of age, is he good enough to do the job for Arsenal?
Known for being a pacy right-back, it is interesting to note that the player managed to make 32 appearances in all competitions for Juve last term, despite the high-profile arrival of Mattia De Sciglio from AC Milan at the start of the 2017/18 campaign. Lichtsteiner’s defensive work is unparalleled and he also offers good pace while surging forward to aid in attacks.
Although he failed to find the back of the net, the Swiss provided three assists across all competitions last season. And as far as his defensive work is concerned, Lichtsteiner chipped in with an average of 1 tackle, 0.5 interceptions and 1 clearance per game.
Now, these numbers might not look all that encouraging but if Emery were to adopt a three-man backline at Arsenal, a player like Lichtsteiner will undoubtedly come in handy.
As far as Arsenal’s current option in that area is concerned, it goes without saying that Hector Bellerin’s performances were quite underwhelming last season. Despite boasting of immense potential, he failed to do much and in turn, attracted the ire of a lot of Arsenal fans.
Lichtsteiner’s addition will also propel Bellerin to improve his game. In addition to that, his inclusion will bring in ample leadership and experience to Arsenal’s backline.
Over the years, Lichtsteiner has amassed valuable experience with Juventus in the Serie A and in the Champions League. As Arsenal prepare to launch a serious title challenge next term, the full-back will undoubtedly prove to be resourceful.
To be fair, the need for a new right-back was not really a priority for the club but this move will bring its fair share of benefits for Arsenal. Also, with a limited budget to fund transfers, one must admit that Emery has made a smart move with snapping up Lichtsteiner on a free transfer.